Choosing a creative path isn’t always an easy course to travel. It’s a path of much struggle. At the same time, though, it’s also a path of much joy and fulfilment. For me creativity is a healing path. Part of the struggle is because when we open ourselves up to creativity, we open up to […]
Tent City is like walking through an end times movie scene…. this should open people’s eyes, and hopefully hearts.We are all homeless, everyone of us… Homeless making our way back home to Christ.
I haven’t been high in a long time.
You know your perception of poverty and loss? When people are scraping under nails to find something to eat?…… or for something green or paper under the table to make ends meet? Being rolled around in search of something higher?
Well imagine a world of freedom, bicycles and skateboards, and only the outdoors. A place where everyday is a barbecue, the light is the sun, the sky is your tent, and the warmth of a lighter is accompanied by the roll of the leaves whistling through the breeze as we burn our days away. Freedom!
Where the dryness sucks in public sympathy, and everyone just brings and brings. No need to ever buy toiletries. “They will build our potties and sinks, there will be water to wash and drink ourselves back to consciousness, then we catch people staring at us, as they crash their cars in confidence, wondering why any of us are really impaired.”
In this place we feel homeless and lost, but everyone sees, and knows where to find us. I don’t really live there, but it’s a place where I find myself a lot, even in my thoughts, because that’s where I find my brothers and sisters.
Tent City, it’s a beautiful mine of souls, waiting for the revival we paint on the outside gates to finally explode. Surrounded by churches, yet thirsty, as everyone waits for a solution to this society’s unaddressed pain. Centuries of hate, grown into generations of waste. In our numbed down hearts we have chosen to escape from the truth that can never truly be reconciled by food, tents, porta-potties or heroine. There is a brokenness that reaches deeper than our wait for justice. A lot of us want to be high, or just happy, but no one has ever truly tasted the pure buzz that comes with forgiveness. It’s a great awakening… it’s the reason that the prodigal son stopped eating the pig food and sleeping, while rolling in mud. It’s knowing that you can come back, and everything that was taken will fully be restored. Wouldn’t that knowledge slipping out, make the enemy mad? He needs more distractions for car accidents, more wood for the fire in hell. He will make you think you are doing well when you are really spending your days digging through empty wells. If you chose this passive path, you are really killing yourself.
Tent City may come with it’s luxuries, but it’s really costing us all our spiritual health. One day we will all be questioned, did we really try to pierce through when we had the light? Some will say they had water, food and the sun, some of us know the truth because the true Son lives in our hearts.
When a kingdom of darkness is being built, and believers just stand, drive by and watch still, it takes more for the good Samaritan to just come and clean the blood, we need to restore, that’s why Jesus came in and bled for us.
Where does our true high to live come from ? Are we living to go to work, and church, and back, and school, and the gym and back and the hospital, and the politics, and the back and forth, and ourselves, are we only drawing back ? Are we living for God and the greater good of others, or are we living for our own comfort and pleasures? The difference in that answer stands the wall dividing the reality of Tent City and tells us Who’s really watching? And which one of us on either side truly has peace?
“We are all homeless, everyone of us… Homeless making our way back home to Christ.”
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Mathew 16:14
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2
through my shallow tears and cries to the other side
where I attempt to take back what I have lost, I am reminded of You Lord,
and how you feel when we stray away… I just want my dogs…. but no matter how much I call out, only You can hear me. I’ve allowed what I could buy to capture my heart. I’m hurting now because I was always captive to what I thought was stolen from me. Security. I’m lost waiting for the world to explain to me that it is my right to feel entitled. To feel my pain. What you chose to give you choose when to take away. The dog that brought me joy, The money that brought the dogs. The father who gave me the money. The God I chose to ignore.
Help me to break away, so they can never hurt me. I’ve heard the whispers from the dark. They could be sold. They could be lunch, They could be dead. I’ve listened to everyone, but I never heard what you said. I’m looking for solutions, and I don’t even live there. I put so much value in them. But they left…. like me, the enemy has waited tirelessly for the day I wonder out into the dark, so I can be lost again… I’ve been a dog…but I’m already bought by the blood that many atheists and unbelievers have tried for centuries to disproof of existence.
My pain exists. And it’s heard to sleep when your babies are missing. But You put me back together, and You waited for me in my sleep.
Even though some seasons bruise me, I will trust in You. Even when the house is decorated with dogs, You watch over the master. I will keep asking you in faith, and my love for You won’t wither. I know if I was lost you would leave the 99 sheep to find that one stubborn one. I know You will give me peace, I know I will overcome. I know nothing happens under Your watch without a reason. Sometimes there’s pain, through it, there’s growth. In the end, and even now, may You always be glorified… and now that I know your pain, I pray that the lost children You cry for, will also come home. And even if Christian and Oreo don’t come home, may Your will be done, and may I be found dwelling deeper, lifting praise at Your heavenly gates. Because I’m found, and I will search till I find my joy and peace in You alone. My heart is no more a slave to things that can die or be stolen. I’m free from this burdensome world. You found me.
” To the ones that want to stay lost. Stop searching. He will still love you when you come home. His doors are open wide… Just come home to where true love is.”
Behaviors are coping mechanisms… what is underneath all that pain?
The water pipe broke, what is it? The microwave broke? My dog died My lover lied... Are You taking me through the book of Job? The pipes froze The lights broke The drive to work is doubled, My food is out in the cold. I keep seeing my "friends" the ones that got things tied in the end. I see us living in the same house, but I moved out weeks ago... I don't know what You want me to do. Is this the fire that makes the gold? Am I being disowned Lord? Or is this just another book of Job? Something is broken in my Spirit. What needs to be done before you fix me? I'm tired of going to men to fix me, when we are all broken pieces... waiting for You to speak to me. What else is broken besides my heart? If it's us, then I plead, fix me! Only You can rid me of this sin; the only disease that exists in me.
In the night when they cuddle up to watch TV in the night before they go to bed I think of you and what this could be, and is this God, or is this just props in my head. In the night when I'm angry, I want you, and I feel like you lied just to sleep next to me, that this disease that we all carry is just sin separating us instead. I love you, but is this good? Are we intertwined in what is , and what could, or did we awaken love before the Master let it loose? in the night when I hurdle up in my blankets I think of God, I think of you. Is this meant to be, or is this another lesson passing through? I know I have bruised you... But I want to be new with you. I've fought thoughts of lust and stones lingering... Forced kisses, strangled through sheets of distance between us Between us... Between you and me i really need God. i really need to feel His hand and blessings more than your dew... So is this love deep, or am i the woman at the well, waiting to get my heart steeped and my mind renewed wIth God. Psalm 147:18 - God is healing us all.
How long are grudges supposed to last for anyway?
Is it till we are tired of the extra pain in our hearts whenever the person walks into the room? Or is it till we are desperate to sleep well and finally get that unnecessary discomfort out of our heads?
Or seriously, are we waiting to realize what we already know that we are defying the number 1 commandment? That we are hurting God? That we have no right?
Either way, this casual form of hatred is fueled by darkness, inspired by an eternity of madness, that slowly waits to kill us in mere seconds…..
So how long is it necessary to prove a point , that “YES! I will continue to live like my sister does not exist, as though she wasn’t made from the image of God, like my total disgust towards her isn’t an approved form of worship to the devil; the prince of hate, destruction and grudges.” There is a difference between wisdom and living in death.
How long do I have to lie to myself that I am not at peace with myself, because I have an invisible black book of enemies knitted in my soul, and it keeps growing and growing until my undefined end, when I stand before the throne of God on judgement day, and give Him a 1000 reasons why I just could not repent:
BECAUSE I WANTED TO BE RIGHT!!!
But hell isn’t made for those who have always been wrong, or those who never truly loved God. The truth is, if we are true holders of the cross, we would know how to treat our brothers or sisters first as Christ did when He gave up His all for us;
His money, His Home, His freedom, His privacy, His family, His dignity, His marriage,His food, His clothes, His life, His blood, His sweat, Himself.
So, how much is a grudge really worth? ……………………………
The next time I see those who betray, gossip, lie and persecute me, I will greet them with a warm smile. I will mean all of it, because, like my labeled “enemy”, Christ died shamelessly on the cross for our sins.
Forgiveness is bondage broken.
Psalm 49:13-15 Leviticus 19:17-18 Matthew 25:35 Colossians 3:13 Ephesians 4:31-32
My visit to Sharing and Caring Hands, a food shelf, was humbling, convicting and a truly immersive learning experience. Surprisingly, it turned out to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and I knew then, that it must have been a divine appointment. I left the food shelf not just physically fed, but with a deep spiritual and emotional satisfaction.
Last Tuesday, I looked around in desperation for any way I could get through this project successfully. The only challenge I was facing was time. As a student who works 3 part-time jobs, I was not expecting to have the pleasure of a 2 hour bus ride. I knew the only day I could truly trust myself to get everything done was Tuesday because, the entire week was meant to be jam-packed with events and preparations for the approaching finals week. I spent so much time panicking on how soon I could finish the assignment, I did not prepare myself mentally or spiritually for the encounters I was about to experience.
Finally at work, I was able to google a nearby food shelf which was meant to open about the same time I got off work. So quickly, I rushed out earlier than usual, with the fear of traffic, and the ignorance of God’s overarching plan over my day. The food shelf happened to be only 6 minutes away from my workplace. I arrived more than 45 minutes early by car, while those who were truly in need walked wearily to the entrance. I kept asking myself insensitively where a parking lot would be at a homeless food shelf that catered for many living under the poverty line. I cheated by parking in the staff parking lot. I made sure to take off all make up and jewelry so that I could rightfully fit in without any suspicions. I even wore a scarf and painted sadness on my face.
As I was trying to get into the mindset of a homeless person, I was wondering what to expect from an experience like this. I was one of the first people to arrive to the shelter. When I got there, I was trying to figure out where I wanted to sit and with whom. I had to prompt myself once more to make an effort to socialize. As much as I had tried to disguise myself, I realized that I still could not blend in, what betrayed me even more was my African accent. I awkwardly sat next to a couple and their male friend, because, the only other person, a woman, had the countenance of someone who wanted to be alone. As soon as I sat down though, I received a dirty look from the woman who was sitting next to a man. I quickly got the cue that I was unwanted, so I left.
I then sat next to the other woman, the lonely old one. For privacy reasons, I will call her Jill. Jill completely ignored me for the first five minutes, but I then had to initiate every conversation with her. She answered with one word answers. Her eyes were tired, and her hair was extremely grey in just the front. Her face was covered with the wrinkles of worry and sadness, and I am glad I saw her smile before I left. She later told me that her husband had just passed away the month before. She said this through smoke burnt lips, broken teeth, and tear stained eyes. At that moment I started noticing how dark the room was becoming, and there was nothing I could really say to comfort her, because I was slowly slipping to the past of my losses also. We both cried together over past love. The room wreaked of sweat, spit, and drugs, and I started to realize that I was not that far broken from anyone else in there. I had been there before, even if it was my first time there.
Then walked in Emma, a resilient Ecuadorean woman with her baby carriage. I mention that because she was so proud to be from her country. She burst into the middle of the line, cutting right in front of Jill and I . At that point I was too bummed out to care about the extra minute of waiting I endured for my food, besides I was trying to fit in. But she had so much life, and so much to say. She told us about the love of Jesus Christ and how He had saved her from that dark place that everyone seemed to be slipping into. She sang out loud and quoted many uplifting verses. She poured her motherly love on us. Soon a sermon erupted from the midst of the long food line. She was the one who made Jill smile again. I’m glad she came when she did. There was only so much my melancholic temperament could do for Jill.
The food was served by teenagers. They were very kind and patient to us. They treated us like we mattered. One of them offered to hold and serve Emma’s plate, while she attended to the baby. Even though there were arguments and struggles between some of the men in the room, the volunteers were different. They were neutral observers, just like me, but like Emma, they gave a light to the entire room, not to mention the food they served was amazing. We had barbeque ribs, and fries with a pickle, and brownies, with dapples and ice cream. It was really sweet and I actually enjoyed myself. It felt like a family dinner, with Jill helping herself to seconds and thirds, and Emma seriously preaching to everyone on the table. It was amazing. Sadly, there were grown men next to us, who were discussing how they were going to use their monthly earnings from begging to buy more drugs. Some people hid the food in compartments and kept going for more.
The volunteers were friendly and humble and offered more food to their guests. We all said a prayer together before we ate. This was led by the volunteers. However, they did not join us for dinner. In general, everyone was thankful for the food, especially since they knew it cost them nothing and they could always come back for more. It was somehow hard for me to accept that, because I know that unlike everyone else in the room, even though I came for food, I left with the bread of life, and an empty pockets. That day, I made a friend, two in fact. I learnt that regardless of what we see on the table, God’s love is always made available for us, if we can only see beyond our basic earthly needs, he will refresh and sustain us. Us humans, we have a hunger that not even a loved one or food can satisfy. I learnt more than anything that like everyone else in the room, I was wounded somehow or broken, and my brokenness could only be mended by Jesus. I was truly grateful for this experience and the free food shared with brothers and sisters in Christ.
- 1 Peter 1:6-7
“And when I come to die, Oh when I come to die, Oh when I come to die, Give me Jesus.”
The Inevitable Itch.
I know I could be doing so many other “productive” things (according to worldly standards) with my time, but this is like fruitful fuel for my soul. It is at that point of realization when you really want to blow up someone’s phone to tell them a super long story of how you came to a certain feeling, but alas, “aint no body got time for that”.
But that’s why I love You; You are always available for any convention. And You move mountains.
So… I remember that one time, my family was on a vacation in Kumasi, and we spent the time visiting relative after relative. It was so much fun! No it wasn’t. My brother and I had practically gotten to that point of gnashing our teeth, wishing we had stayed at home in Accra. Oh how social, respectful children we were back then. I remember him say, “if one more person asks me what I am going to do when I grow up, I will just say beggar. Ah! we’re tired!” We were laughing hard in the back seat. I didn’t know he was serious ooh….. hmmm.
Then we went to the next house! *rolling on the floor in laughter* … It was like a movie. The old men asked us both what we wanted to do when we grow up – our little sister was too young to talk – I went along with my medical doctor swag. But then when it got to Naynz , he straight up said “I want to be a ….”. And everyone there including my parents were super confused. They were meant to be showcasing us, but it seemed the tables had turned .
“You want to be what?”
The old men asked again, “you mean like the burger we eat?”.
“No, no,” my brother replied blankly, ” like beggar on the streets.” My parents were both in shock. At the point I started hearing sirens in my head.. like the world had completely slowed down. And laughter came out of my mouth like vomit I couldn’t hold down. Then my mother gave me the dirtiest look; the infamous mum stare that, like fiery rays, can cut through your heart and remind you what time it is and who gave birth to you? At that moment I knew that somewhere in the universe, like a basketball, a spanking was slowly spinning toward one of us. Either that or we were both going to be gingered…HARD. So like clockwork, I choked into silence.
I thought of this just now because I know that sometimes in life, there are some forces in our own minds, that causes us to act very irrationally, especially when we are convinced that we are right… Like when I stupidly threw a stick at the chief and my father had to slaughter a sheep. But that’s another story, same vacation though.
Don’t judge me, I was trying to save my father from potential bankruptcy.
Fast forward to 2017, I wasted an entire semester on procrastination and depression. I chose to sleep through the midnight deadline of a paper which took me only 45 minutes to write. Then my reliable computer decided to freeze on me.
This lateness, caused by performance anxiety, came at a cost of a letter grade; an A-.
I was furious. Angry…. with the devil? The devil has suffered from the blame and excuses that we as believers tend to assign for our lack of faith. Not really! Every act of fear comes from a belief that was sown and watered from somewhere.
Just the other day, at a family lunch, my little cousin took a kebab stick and asked passionately if he could burst the giant pimple on the side of my face. Everyone was appalled, but I know he really wanted to set me free from a lifetime of awkward stares, and luckily children barely have social filters. So unlike my brother and I, he got away with it.
What all these scenarios make me think of is the fact that there is always something unseen, unheard or unwritten that gives us an itch and make us act inappropriately in terms of social norms. I could never blame my brother for that cheeky answer back then, because we were both bored and tired of the same question over and over again. A question that can cause some form of anxiety or stress on a nice holiday, can easily provoke a harsh or rude answer. This becomes an itch. We all have that one thing that makes us itch. Like a psychological or spiritual button that brings up a different side of us.
I believe that before anyone decides to label or diagnose any acts of passion or fear as a behavioral disorder or form of deviance, it is important that we address these things to you, Lord, because you are the divine manufacturer, and only You can truly prescribe a cure for our weaknesses and malfunctions.
Growing up, I found myself always tilting to the left, because that tittle mountain of flesh – insecurity – always sat heavily on my shoulder. It was more than just a mountain, a foe or abnormal growth, or a keloid. Insecurity, was the spirit that clouded my thoughts and made me believe that this little growth was bigger than life and must impact all my thoughts, moments, and memories. It affected me. It dictated what I did, the clothes I wore and how I acted at all times. It was like the imaginary cockroach underneath my armpits … it weighed me down and cost me most of the freedom of my youth. I was disgusted by myself, angry with You. At that moment the dark spirit that accompanied that mass of growth, became my god.
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “All is vanity.” – Ecclesiastes 12:8
Years later, countless failed or pending relationships later, surgeries later, I have now been able to identify that this one little itch that always made me feel ugly and weird about myself was never the extra growth of skin or blood clots on my shoulder, or face. No. Today, I now label that thing as the spirit of insecurity, among other things that I am and will continue to bind and overcome by the grace of God that helps me see that I was made in Your own image as Your daughter, and I have a divine purpose to fulfill regardless of what or who defines me or regards me as more of less of a person.
Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, or the bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well.
Then dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to the God who gave it.
– Ecclesiastes 12:6-7
We are not just people, we are spirits, and whatever we give power to dominate over our thoughts and actions, can become a god and a stronghold. That’s what demons are known best for. There’s no reason to be angry, when you finally realize what the itch was put there for. It’s their job. To torment and harass. Ours is to trust in God and overcome. That moment I realized it was never me, but the sin that covers this world and the eyes of many, I finally decided it was time to be free. Thank you God for creating me, and permitting these hardships to occur so that I could be stronger enough to be what You created me to be: Redeemed.
“Assuredly , I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Let’s talk about the mountains on my body. The tiny boils of fire that the enemy uses to eat away at my soul. The first one was fearful isolation.
When I’m dead to this world #anotherbullet
I am writing these lamentations to You because I’m tired. I’ve complained to my mother, my family has been ashamed of me, random mad men on the bus have teased and insulted me, ex boyfriends have gagged at me…surgeries didn’t work. I’ve failed too many exams obsessing over the wrong anxieties and now my co workers probably think there’s something wrong with me because I’ve made a mountain out of the dirt inside of me. I’ve spent majority of my life – 25 years – being angry and disgusted by the design that You made me to be, that You allowed me to become. So I’m writing a complaint to the manufacturer of my soul. I know You can fix this broken vessel, because I’ve tried everything, and no one, none of these people, no one could save me from the pit I’m drowning in, not even myself. So this is me, pleading, answer me, please.
I spend most of my days trying to lift my head up …. but then the weight of guilt and pain forces me to look down so that my head covers that invisible necklace that suffocates and burns into my neck and spine. It’s been choking my life, yet spelling the words “U-G-L-Y, You ain’t got no alibi”, so how can I even see You? The truth is I have 5 imaginary dwarfs trying to suck holes into my soul. Though small, they appear loud. Those little leeches, accompany tiny mountains. Those mountains, whoever sent them are reminders of dark spirits. And they try to remind me of their presence everyday, and even when I toss in my sleep. I’ve noticed how much for a while, these thorns in my flesh have managed to dictate my posture, how I walk, my lack of eye contact, the constant state of self torture and hate, and even bigger, the life long hindrance to fulfilling my true calling and destiny. I can barely find myself, when I’m constantly hurting from these growing scars. I NEED YOUR HELP!
I laughed at the verse of the day Ephesians 2:10; “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” I ask You, Lord, what can do you with someone who is so broken that whenever they look into someone else’s eyes all they see is their own dysfunction. Why do I never feel like I’m good enough to wear that dress, to go to that one party, to talk to that one person, to interview for that job. I walk to the state fair and people look at me like the walking freak display, because I have allowed myself to wear that chain around my neck. So I keep my head down, but You say I’m Your workmanship. For what purpose Lord? Will You always be the Only one, to love me for who I am? Is that why You allowed me to be and look this way?
Let’s talk about the mountains on my body. The tiny boils of fire that the enemy uses to eat away at my soul. The first one was fearful isolation. Growing from my lack of trusting others especially those closest to me, I hid even the most painful cuts, and this grew into layers of layers of lies and frustration. I was always hiding. I trusted no one. Bad things have happened. People have taken advantage of me. Family have mistreated me. Friends have misused me. Siblings have mishandled me. But I was made to think it was normal. By the time I was 7, I was shivering from nightmares, drownings, beatings, starvings, touchings, and a life too dim to see Your light. Then I saw a sunflower. The weirdest plant, with the happiest glow. Like me, it was skinny, and had a big head, but more hair, especially in the middle. It made me smile. Still, that yellow pierces through my thoughts. It was too beautiful to wonder who loved me, and who loved me not. I think that was You smiling at me; me, my mother’s darker child.
This is a working progress of faith. To be continued…………..
Overcoming fear and accepting God’s hand through the trials.
I’m not new to this suffering. Neither is Jesus. Lately so much has been happening … riots, floods, missile launches, dirty politics…. my own weaknesses and imperfection. It’s so easy to give up and question God, like He doesn’t know what He is doing, like He is not the author and vindicator of everything that is good, like he didn’t make me fearful and wonderful to fulfill His true divine purposes for my life.
The world might raise me to hate who I am because the canal mind cannot begin to understand or discern who I was made to be. I am better than what anyone can guess or calculate about me, because the manufacturer of my soul, God, is the only one who can rate my beauty, my worth and my potential. I am made to work for His divine purpose and His heavenly Kingdom. Forget this fallen world. Remembering God in these last days will make a difference.
For the director of music. Of David.
1 In the Lord I take refuge.
How then can you say to me:
“Flee like a bird to your mountain.
2 For look, the wicked bend their bows;
they set their arrows against the strings
to shoot from the shadows
at the upright in heart.
3 When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do?”
4 The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
his eyes examine them.
5 The Lord examines the righteous,
but the wicked, those who love violence,
he hates with a passion.
6 On the wicked he will rain
fiery coals and burning sulfur;
a scorching wind will be their lot.
7 For the Lord is righteous,
he loves justice;
the upright will see his face.